ttarpcire
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Is there any hope for this White Pine?

I am hoping someone can help me figure out why this guys needles are going brown. I dug it up last year and it was in its native soil through the winter. This spring the soil wasn't draining very well so I transplanted it to get better drainage. Lava rocks in the bottom and normal potting soil. I looks like its drying up but I am watering it when the first inch of the soil is not sticking to my fingers. It seems to get worse every time I water.
Any thoughts?
thanks
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HoneyBerry
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Re: Is there any hope for this White Pine?

Here is my response. I am not a tree expert, but I have did do some research a while back to help with my own tree solutions.
A healthy pine tree will have some dead needles. These older needles are on the inside part of the branches and are shed in late summer and early fall. The tips on the branches of a healthy tree are the newest needles and are greener. If there is an excessive amount of dead needles, especially at the ends of the branches where the young new growth should be, it is a good indicator that the tree is sick and ailing. There is more than one possible cause - drought stress is one of them, but so is waterlogged soil. Other possibilities to consider are nitrogen deficiency, insects, air pollution or other types of diseases. It will take some work to pinpoint the exact problem. Something to consider is that transplanting is very stressful for a tree. It takes time for a tree to recover from transplant shock. If the tree was diseased and weak to begin with, it will need even more time to recover from transplant shock or it may not recover at all. It is important to transplant correctly and at the right time of year. It seems like you did not transplant at the right time - fall is best. Spring is not the best time to dig up and transplant a tree that is rooted in the ground. It is important to preserve as much of the root as possible when you dig it up.
It sounds as if you are needing a quick solution. I did some tree research a while ago to help with some of my problems and learned a great that way. During the research process, I learned about some preventive tree care that I hadn't even considered. For example, cleaning dead needles from the inside of the tree helps bring light to the the tree branches and is a great mulch for the base of the tree. The dead needles mulch helps the tree preserve its water during drought conditions. An isolated tree in a yard is different than a tree in a forest. A forest is a large network of trees that depend upon and take care of each other. An isolated tree does not have the benefit that the other trees normally would provide.
If you purchase a tree that is established in a pot, it can be planted successfully in the spring because the roots are minimally disturbed by the transfer from the pot to the freshly dug hole in the ground. Digging up a tree that is establish in the ground is very stressful for a tree and should be done carefully so that the roots are minimally affected and should be done in the fall for best results.
You transplanted your tree twice. You state 'before winter' for the first transplant, but you do not state precisely that it was in the fall. And then you transplanted the same tree again the following spring. Successive transplants that are close together and at the wrong time, such as your transplants appear to have been, are very stressful for your tree.
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HoneyBerry
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Re: Is there any hope for this White Pine?

I just reread your post and realize now that you transplanted from the ground to a pot. I have never been successful at transplanting evergreen trees from the ground to a pot. They have always died. I wonder how big you pine tree is and how big the pot is. It seems to be unhappy in the pot.
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ttarpcire
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Re: Is there any hope for this White Pine?

The pot is 15 gal. the tree is only about a 2 inch base and maybe 3 feet tall.
I thought it was probably a bad idea to transplant into a new pot in the spring and so close to when it was dug up, but the original soil was very dense and when watered it would pool at the top for hours... I figured it was a necessary evil to change the pot.
I guess it was doomed either way.
thank you for your response.

HoneyBerry
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Re: Is there any hope for this White Pine?

I think that I have a clearer picture if this situation. The first transplant (before winter) was such that the tree was removed from the ground with most of the roots were still rooted in a ball of original soil. And then that original soil was replaced with potting soil in the spring. I think that your potting soil is probably fine and that the drainage is fine and that your watering method is fine. I think that your tree is possibly in shock from the roots being disturbed. It may not recover. If it does, it won't be for a while. If it does recover, you will see some fresh green needles on the tips of the branches in the spring.
I transplant lilac trees every fall and they are shocked and lose their leaves and appear to be dead through the winter and then the new growth magically appears in the spring. I think that pine trees are more sensitive to transplanting than lilacs, however.
I am not as familiar with your tree as you are, so please consider other possibilities, in case I am wrong.
Last edited by HoneyBerry on Thu May 12, 2016 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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HoneyBerry
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Re: Is there any hope for this White Pine?

Sorry, I meant to say this in my last post. I think it might improve the chances for your potted tree to recover if it is placed in indirect sun rather than direct sun. The branches will die if all of the needles dry out and die.
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ttarpcire
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Re: Is there any hope for this White Pine?

thank you for this, I think shock is the right issue. So if all the needles turn brown and it "looks" dead, in the case of your lilacs. should I put it off in a corner, continue to water and hope it comes back next spring? or do you think that once brown all is lost?
Thanks again for your thoughts.

HoneyBerry
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Re: Is there any hope for this White Pine?

I don't know if your tree will survive or not. You love the tree, so I think it is worth taking care of it to see if it will recover. I was thinking about this some more while I was working in the yard yesterday. It seems that your first transplant was successful. The roots were disturbed more the 2nd time, when you changed the soil in the spring. I don't know exactly how you changed out the dirt. What you did then is critical. Did you work quickly and were the roots kept moist during the entire process? That is very important. Yesterday, I was thinking that because you were concerned about the tree being waterlogged, perhaps it didn't get enough water during and right after the critical time that the dirt was changed out. The roots need more water and constant moisture during the transplant. The roots need to be protected and kept moist as much as possible. I have successfully transplanted a lilac from ground to pot in the spring. I did it really quickly and it worked. I hope your tree survives, but it might not. When evergreen trees lose their needles, the branches die. I have some trees that have lost part of their needles and the needles never grew back. It's a learning process. I wasn't very good at transplanting trees when I first tried to do it, but I am much better at it now.
If you have room for 2 trees, perhaps you could buy another one just in case your sick tree doesn't make it. That way you would have a head start on a new tree. If the sick tree makes it, it would have a tree friend.
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ttarpcire
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Re: Is there any hope for this White Pine?

I was super fast on the transplant, the new pot was prepped with new soil, old pot was loosened, the tree was out of the dirt and into the new pot in a matter of 1 or 2 minutes. I watered in the new soil till it ran out the bottom. then tried to check moisture with sticking my finger a few inches down before watering again. I guess will keep him in the ICU for now until all hope is gone before I pull the plug. I really appreciate your thoughts and advice.
I hope your thumb always stays green ... :)

tomc
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Re: Is there any hope for this White Pine?

Pines as bonsai are even more involved with mycoriza ( don't know how to spell the root mass of mushrooms right).

I would transplant or re-pot early in the spring. I would make sure my soil had a 30-40% rate of pine bark a little peat moss and a fair amount (50%) of an inorganic matrix like granite chicken grit or agricultural grade perlite. I would let him loaf out of direct sunlight for the first month or two and then into morning sunlight there after.

Plan on watering daily, every day it does not rain. Not so much to hydrate the tree as to hydrate the pine bark. You need it colored white at its earliest convenience (its those mushrooms again).

I would probably not de-candle it the first year.

If you are absolutely in love with fertilizer. I would use a soluble fert at 1/4 the rate on the directions panel. ONLY after it is growing green and looking ready to break out of its pot.
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